Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities
3rd December 2019 marks the 27th International Day of Persons with Disabilities and SDDirect are pleased to release the second evidence digest on disability inclusive development, including in accessible formats. We are proud to be part of the Disability Inclusive Development programme, a six-year £27million programme funded by DFID, in a consortium led by Sightsavers. SDDirect runs the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk, a research and advice service for DFID and other UK government departments on disability inclusion. The Helpdesk plays a critical role in supporting the implementation of DFID’s new Strategy for Disability Inclusive Development 2018-2023 and the scale-up of disability mainstreaming across the department.
SDDirect has a long track record working on gender equality and social inclusion, and this programme is our first major programme focused on disability inclusion. Engaging in this programme has prompted us to look internally at our own strengths and weaknesses. Are we CRPD compliant in our practices? What does it mean to be? We are currently undertaking a review across the organisation to look at our policies and procedures, how we communicate externally and how we integrate disability inclusion across our portfolio of programmes. An example of this includes the observation that we need to improve the accessibility of the products and research we publish, we are starting on this journey today with the easy read and audio versions of the evidence digest.
We are in the midst of these reviews and whilst emerging findings show there are positives and progress there is much more to do. We will be putting plans in place to improve our practices over the next year.
International Day also falls during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). As a leading provider of research and advice on GBV and with the experience of the helpdesk so far, SDDirect is beginning to look at what we can do on disability inclusion in our GBV work. We know that women and girls with disabilities are 2-4 times more likely to experience intimate partner violence than their non-disabled counterparts and that work to respond to this violence needs to be more inclusive. We are a core consortium member of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) programme. The programme has developed a number of evidence briefs on VAWG and disability exploring the links between experience of disability and intimate partner violence, including by type and severity of disability.
We are also planning a day of disability inclusion training with our team working on VAWG prevention and response in Malawi on the DFID-funded VAWG: Prevention and Response programme, an opportunity to share the learning and insights from the Disability Inclusion Helpdesk.
It is with excitement that we are on this journey of reflection and discovery and in 12 months we hopefully will be telling you what progress we’ve made.